Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Slice of Life: Tis the Season for Reading Challenges

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice"
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, BethKathleen, 
Deb, Melanie, Lanny, and Kelsey
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday
and nurturing our writing lives.

It's that time of year when summer reading challenges and lists for summer reading seem to be popping up everywhere. Rather than get carried away with a new challenge, I've decided to rededicate myself to two challenges that I'm already doing and add one additional challenge.

1. #mustreadin2018 - Carrie Gelson & friends who blog
I haven't made much progress on this list because I keep getting waylaid by other books (most recently Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes & The Boy, the Bird, and the Coffin Maker by Matilda Woods). I want to read three titles from my #mustreadin2018 during the summer. And in the spirit of commitment, I'll pick the top three from the photo of my book stack:  Chicken Boy, How to Steal a Dog, and A Tangle of Knots.

2. 10 to Try in 2018 - King County Library System
I'll add three titles completed to this challenge. Currently I'm reading The Handmaid's Tale for my adult book club (that will fulfill my banned book square). It's one of those books I've never read, but always planned to read. Any recommendations for the other two squares of my challenge that I plan to tackle?  A book about food? A book in translation?

3. Three Richard Peck titles I own, but have never read. I pulled up a list of books written by Richard Peck after reading his obituary. I was amazed to realize that I have three of his books already sitting on my bookshelves that I've always planned to read. So I'm adding these books to my personal summer challenge.

I'm resisting the urge to add another challenge to my already overfull summer reading list, but take a look at this book bingo card for adults from the Seattle Public Library and the Seattle Arts and Lectures. It's filled with fun categories.
Book Bingo:  Adult Summer Reading Fun 2018 

Happy summer and happy reading!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Celebrate This Week: Grandboys, More Activity. Blossoms, & Writing Challenges

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Each week I join Ruth Ayres and a few friends to celebrate the week and 
to focus on the positive things that happened in the past week.

Some celebrations are easier to find than others and some weeks are  just filled with the regular rhythm of life (which is actually something to celebrate). 
Okay, this pic is from last week, but I'm still basking in the joy of a visit from Teddy and his parents. We were getting ready to make pancakes for breakfast in this shot. Everyone knows that a boy needs a ladder to stand on when he's helping Grandma in the kitchen. 

Teddy spent the past week helping (?) his mom pack for their upcoming move. Here's a shot of him exploring the window seat in the kitchen of the new house. 
I captured these shots from an Instagram video Stefi posted before their flight this morning to New Orleans to visit family.

Some pics of Jack from this week! 

I actually returned to my swim class this week more than a year after stopping due to some knee problems. Thanks to Shelly
for her continuous, yet gentle prodding.

 My new goal of trying to walk more means that I'm
capturing more pics of blossoms in my surroundings.

Summer writing challenges abound! While summer no longer signals a different schedule for me, it still signals a shift in thinking (slower days filled with more daylight) and seems like a good time to tackle a new challenge. My favorite post comes from a shared link at this week's Teach Write Writing Round-Up. Stephanie Morrill's post Three Mindset Shifts to Help You Have a (Realistically) Productive Summer resonated with me. And if you're looking to get some ideas for summer writing don't miss the upcoming #TeachWrite Twitter Chat on Monday, June 4, 2018 at 7:30 pm ET. Their theme for June is Summer Writing. I'm totally going to make more time for writing this summer. I'm celebrating the inspiration that is all around us to help us grow our writing muscles.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Poetry Friday: Pairing a Poem and a Book

Head over to Reflections on the Teche for this 
week's round-up of poetic goodness. Margaret Simon
is hosting this week. She kicks off our Friday fun
with a sonnet inspired by Molly's photo as part of a
recent geographic photo/poetry exchange.
Thanks, Margaret for hosting our gathering this week.

Sometimes the best laid plans get changed. And that's what happened to this Poetry Friday post. I had planned to share a book that I discovered last month in the poetry section at the middle school where I used to teach. But when I opened today's Poem-A-Day to  discover "My Love is Black" by DéLana R. A. Dameron, I knew I had to share this poem. Here are a few lines from the poem that juxtapose a lovely evening with ever present fear:

                       " ...But
here we are: walking
hand in hand
in our parkas down
the avenues & he pulls away
from me. I might be
in some dreamy place,
thinking of the roast chicken
we just had, the coconut peas
& rice he just cooked,
& how the food has filled
our bellies with delight. How
many times can I speak
about black men
& an officer enters the scene?

This poem immediately reminded me of Ghost Boys, a book by Jewell Parker Rhodes I recently finished that continues to stay with me. If you haven't read it, put it on your summer reading list and tuck this poem into the book.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

SOL: Where Two or Three Are Gathered for Book Love!

I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice"
 a day late, on Wednesday,
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, BethKathleen,
Deb, Melanie, Lanny, and Kelsey
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday
and nurturing our writing lives.

Yesterday was a busy day. I'm retired, but I had a morning meeting, an afternoon meeting, and an evening meeting. And I wanted to write my slice about the afternoon meeting. However, by the time I reached the end of the day, I had no energy left for writing. So even though I can't link to the Tuesday Slice of Life, I'm adding a Wednesday slice. And it's good enough!

Our final book club meeting of the year was at the public library. I arrived late (with just-out-of-the-oven cookie bars) to find Ms. Bowman, our public librarian, as the lone bibliophile in the room. We have alternated meetings this past year between the middle school and the public library. We've learned that location is everything and that you can't beat a meeting that happens right after school in the same facility and provides rides home via the activity bus. 

Both Ms. Bowman and myself bring many books to display at our meetings. So even though no students had shown up yet, we loved perusing the books on display. I was thrilled to see that Ms. Bowman was reading Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes, a book I recently read and loved. She had several titles that I added to my WTR (want to read) list. I shared the fifteen word speech idea for best book of the year that I read about on Twitter (compliments of Pernille Ripp's classroom assignment). And we decided to write our own 15 word speeches about a book we had recently read and loved. Before long, Anna breezed in from track and joined us in writing her own fifteen word speech. So even though we were few in number (three to be exact, well, four when Anna's mom showed up and joined in sharing book love), our enthusiasm for books was unflagging. And Anna got to take as many cookie bars as she wanted and we left some for the library staff too. 

Note:  Our favorite books came from the books available in our display.

Favorite books of Ms. Behnke (that's me) - Ghost Boys
Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess
Favorite books of Anna -Awkward (a graphic novel) & 
The Creativity Project 
Favorite books of Ms. Bowman - Saints and Misfits
Dear Martin
I'll add our fifteen word speeches once I'm home. I forgot to bring them with me to grandson Jack's house where I'm babysitting and writing this post during nap time. (Actually, it took me until Friday to find the paper with our fifteen word speeches. Here they are!)

Anna's speech for Awkward (Svetlana Chmakova):
Girl pushes boy.
Each in club.
Club hates club. 
Clubs closed.
Must work together.

Ms. Bowman's speech for Saints and Misfits (S.K. Ali):
can’t date
Muslim boy
non-Muslim boy
brave advocate

My speech for Ghost Boys (Jewell Parker Rhodes):
Jerome, killed by policeman, probes racism.
Ghost Boy befriends Emmett Till and policeman's daughter.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Celebrate This Week: Completed Commitments and Boys at Play!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Each week I join Ruth Ayres and a few friends
to celebrate the week and to focus on the
positive things that happened in the past week.

I missed posting this past week. This weekly celebration is a discipline that I look forward to each week. If you know me well, then you know that mentioning discipline and looking forward to something in the same sentence does not make sense. But I must admit that stopping to celebrate every week is a discipline that I've grown to love. 

This week I'm celebrating that three major commitments for the month of May are complete and finished - Our Evening of Prayer for Peace, a lesson/facilitated discussion for our ladies' group, and our congregation's yearly gathering of sisters on Mother's Day to focus on our ministering efforts to each other. 

I'm celebrating a lovely visit with grandson Teddy and his parents. I love that he talks so much and that I could understand more and more of what he said as the week wore on. He and Jack loved the "all about diggers" book I bought and shared with them this past week. 

I'm celebrating story time with Teddy at our local indie bookstore, Island Books. We're lucky that our storyteller, Nancy Stewart,  brings along her guitar for lots of songs to accompany her stories. Here's Teddy joining in for "Wheels on the Bus."
I'm celebrating these boys making music together!  We've picked a band name already - "Grandpa and His Boys."
I'm celebrating watching Jack and Teddy play together and share love together. And you know what? It doesn't get better than this!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Poetry Friday: Naomi Shihab Nye and the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture at WWU

Head over to Sloth Reads for this week's round-up
of poetic goodness. Rebecca is sharing a
book of poetry her family loves and a giveaway.
Thanks, Rebecca, for hosting our gathering this week.

It's been three weeks since I heard Naomi Shihab Nye give the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture at Western Washington University. When I learned she was coming to the Pacific NW to give this lecture, I knew I wanted to attend. I emailed some of my poetry loving friends, but no one was able to join me. I threw a wider net and managed to convince two good friends to join me, one of whom had to cancel due to birthday plans with her family. The other friend told me that she has never liked poetry, but being the good friend she is, she agreed to accompany me. I shared a few poetry books by Naomi Shihab Nye with her prior to the event. 

The evening was delightful for both of us. Notebook open on my lap, I attempted to capture the gist of the wonderful words shared during the evening. Many of my notes are unfinished sentences because before I could finish a thought, Naomi would start another sentence that I longed to capture. So I'm looking forward to the future publication of her lecture in Children and Libraries: The Journal of ALSC. 

Until then, here are some of my half-captured thoughts from Naomi Shihab Nye's lecture, Refreshments Will Be Served: Our Lives of Reading and Writing.

  • How many times may our lives start because of books? 
  • For those who find homes in books, we have an ongoing ticket to sanity.
  • Nothing is more delicious than tucking up with a good book.
  • Naomi shared her two favorite books with us, The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown (the first book I argued with, talked to out loud) and Favorite Poems Old and New edited by Helen Ferris (my first time to see many voices collected in one book).
  • She recommended a novel, The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook, set during the Civil War in Texas.
  • It's impossible to be lonely when you have a good book.
  • We are all our grandmother's bread.
  • We read books. We write poems. We belong to ourselves.
  • We live on the edges of stories we don't hear.
  • We grow accustomed to the dark when light is put away. - Emily Dickinson
  • Reading and writing subvert the notion that things have to be the way they are.
  • I believe in having mentors and being fans. Naomi mentioned two of her mentors - William Stafford and Peter Matthiessen.
  • Find our heroes in obituaries.
  • Books are the living air we breathe.
  • Empathy is about finding echoes of ourselves in another person.
  • Reading things that fortify you will help you keep growing.
  • She encouraged us to explore the digital library of William Stafford. We need his work in this time.
  • Finally, here is some of the advice shared by Naomi in response  to a question posed by an audience member. "How do we remain hopeful?" Keep reading good books. Share better news. Read twice as much. Share what inspires and fortifies you. 

And that is the reason I feel compelled to share my incomplete and rapidly scrawled (but hopefully mostly correct) notes from this lecture, an event that inspired and fortified me and encourages me to keep believing in the power of reading and writing. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

SOL 2018: A Slice at the Kids' Museum

Take two cousins, one set of parents and Grandma and Grandpa.
Toss in a set of big wheels, a postal sorting service, some time in the orchard, the farm, the kitchen, and some water play. And don't forget some final outside play to the accompaniment of a xylophone. Goodbye, Kidquest Museum (and raccoon statue). We'll be back!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Slice of Life: Searching for Love(y)!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice"
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, BethKathleen,
Deb, Melanie, Lanny, and Kelsey
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday
and nurturing our writing lives.

My afternoons with grandson Jack follow a fairly predictable routine. After lunch, we play a bit, get some milk, do a diaper change, and head to the rocker to read and drink. After reading two or three books, Jack is zipped into his sleep sack, he grabs his  pacifier and lovey, and we head back to the rocker for a couple of songs before he's down for a nap.  

It's a routine that he's very familiar with, and it's very comforting for him. Except for one day last week when we lost his lovey! 

I was sure that it was somewhere close by, but after a quick scan of the rooms of the house, we had to get more intentional about our search. I told Jack we were looking for his lovey and he helped me look, even getting down on the floor with me to peer under the furniture and helping me look in the drawers and cupboards that he frequently opens. 

Finally, in desperation, I texted his mom (my daughter):  "I can't find this boy's lovey. Anything he'll take as a substitute?"

And her response: "What?!?  It's not on the bed?"

I replied, "He had it this morning after a diaper change."

And she texted, " Hmmm, you could try Larry (his bear) or Ed (his elephant) or his little white bunny."

I grabbed the bear and the bunny, zipped Jack back into his sleep sack (we'd taken it off while searching the house), and headed for the rocker. When I handed him the bear, he threw him across the room. Same treatment for the little white bunny. There was no way this boy was going to sleep without his lovey.

So we zipped out of the sleep sack again to resume our frantic search of the house, looking again in all the same places, just in case we had overlooked his blue lovey (which coincidentally is a bunny). By this point I was almost in tears and wishing that the spare lovey (sequestered at my house) was hanging out here instead. As we headed out of the kitchen, I noticed a spot of blue in the kitchen sink. I stepped back, peered into the sink, and sure enough there was Jack's lovey!

And that's when I remembered that after I had changed Jack's dirty diaper, we headed to the garage with the diaper (all tied up in a plastic newspaper bag). And then I stopped off at the kitchen sink to wash my hands. And that's when Jack must have dropped his lovey in the sink!

Quick as a bunny, we zipped back into the sleep sack, grabbed the pacifier, and Jack snuggled up with his lovey. I'm not sure who was more relieved, Jack or Grandma. He was asleep before I could even finish one verse of a favorite song! And the extra lovey at Grandma's house? It's living at Jack's house now. Maybe it's time for Grandma to order another one for her house.
Here's Jack enjoying his lovey 
and a story with Grandpa on Friday.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Celebrate This Week: A Finished Project, Blossoms, & Grand-boys!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Each week I join Ruth Ayres and a few friends
to celebrate the week and to focus on the
positive things that happened in the past week.

It's a wrap! Our women's group from church completed an interfaith event, Evening of Prayer for Peace, for our local community on Thursday evening. It's true that many hands make light work. I am grateful for the many individuals who lent hearts and hands to make this project a reality. 

A quick walk on Friday evening revealed beautiful color in various stages of bloom.

Jack samples the oatmeal chocolate
chip cookies for Thursday's event
& gives them his stamp of approval.
Teddy's adventures in Utah -
at the fire station with Mom
& hanging out w/ G'ma Barb